Wells Fargo becomes third major US bank to nix Arctic oil investment

Wells Fargo says it won’t finance oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bank’s announcement follows similar policies against Arctic drilling adopted by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, as well as a string of European banks.

Wells Fargo says it will not “directly finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic region, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

The language leaves open the possibility that the bank could indirectly fund Arctic projects, by lending money to oil companies that operate in the region.

Read more: Anxiety creeps into oil-dependent Alaska as banks step back from Arctic investment

The Gwich’in Steering Committee, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups have been campaigning for banks to divest from Arctic fossil fuels.

In the 2017 tax bill, Congress ordered the government to auction off drilling rights in ANWR. The Interior Department has not announced dates for those lease sales.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

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